There are some people the working of whose minds are incomprehensible to the rest of us. Take for example, Frazier Cross, a 74-year old white supremacist and a former senior member of the Ku Klux Klan who shot dead three people outside two Jewish centers in Kansas last year, thinking they were Jews, though it so happened that they were not.
That of course is bad enough. What is incredible is that even after admitting to the shootings, he asked to be acquitted of the murders.
A white supremacist told a jury on Friday how he killed three people, including a boy, outside two Jewish centers in Kansas last year but asked that he be found not guilty because he believed that Jews have too much power and must be stopped.
Cross said he did not learn that none of the victims were Jewish until six says later.
“Of course, I was devastated,” he testified. He also testified to believing that his adult victims were accomplices of Jews by associating with them and supporting their facilities.
Cross told the court he believes Jews have committed genocide against white people, and control both the media and Wall Street.
“I had no criminal intent, I had a patriotic intent to stop genocide against my people,” said Cross, who is also known as Glenn Miller.
He said in the days before committing the murders he researched what he sees as the demise of the white race and decided he had to take action.
In other news reports, he said that he “blames Jews for inciting blacks to hate whites through the mass media that he says they control.”
The jury disagreed with his case for acquittal. They found him guilty of the murders and recommended the death penalty.
People like Cross actually think they are committing a virtuous act by murdering people for who they are. The idea of Jews being a cabal that controls the media is an old one in anti-Semitic and white supremacist circles. The belief among some that the purity of the nation is being sullied by the influx of people who are different from them in terms of race or color or religion or nationality is also an old one.
But the idea that white people as a whole are being threatened with extinction in the US is a newer idea that seems to be gaining ground. It is being fed by the demographic trends repeatedly mentioned in the media that suggest that by 2050, white people will no longer form a majority in the country, though they will still be a plurality for some time.
It is this feeling that Donald Trump and the other Republican candidates are feeding with their anti-immigrant rhetoric. It is an easy way to prey on the fears of people.
Unfortunately, the tribal instinct is strong and one can find this kind of thinking all over the place in all communities and is not limited only to the US or to white people. It manifests itself most clearly when people find partners who are not from the same group as their own families. Some family members will feel that the unique characteristics of their group is somehow being diluted, though they would find it hard to specify exactly what is unique or virtuous about their group that they are trying to preserve.